John 15:5, 8-13
Old Testament writers (e.g. Hosea 10:1, Jeremiah 2:21) spoke of Israel as a vine God planted. In Jesus’ day, a golden vine in the Temple symbolized Israel’s link to God. But Jesus said Israel’s faith found its fullest expression in him; he is the vine. The image led to a key object lesson: no branch grows and bears fruit unless it stays joined to the vine.
- What are some of the ways that you “abide” in Jesus? What commitments or behaviors have you heard other Christians say have helped them to remain “connected to the vine”? Prayerfully choose one new way you will seek to deepen your abiding in Jesus.
- Jesus said his way of life leads to love and joy: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete…Love each other as I have loved you” (verse 11-12). Would those who know you best say “love” and “joy” describe your life? What experiences or fears block you from experiencing God’s love and joy?
Just a few short notes today as I am focused on writing two sermons, one newsletter article, and a whole bunch of other good stuff I have to get done before the day is done.
Jesus is back to the friend thing at the very end of this reading of vines and fruit. The GPS chops out verses 6 and 7, I hate when they do that. Its important too… Vines that don’t produce anything at some point get cut out, but equally important I think is that vines that call for nourishment will get what they need to produce fruit, which is what we are called to do!
That last line… “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Then in the next verse Jesus calls his disciples then, and I believe now his friends. I think this is incredibly cool.
This leads me to an interesting situation. I had a couple get quite upset because some of Jesus “Friends” didn’t produce exactly the same kind of fruit that they did nor on their same schedule.
They felt these other friends weren’t really friends at all, that there was a a bitterness in their fruit that Jesus would never endorse. They might have been right, but fruit was still being born, and growth was happening… Jesus has time for vines like these. They didn’t agree so much, and I don’t think they tasted the bitterness in their own fruit. They have chosen to detach themselves from the vine and that is sad.
The kinds of fruit and the kinds of friends Jesus are varied, and I am afraid there are a few nuts in there as well.